Not to be snide or anything, but among many pleasant things this time of year, it’s also the season for holiday shopping mall music. And if you’ve spent even a fraction of your life in a mall since the beginning of November, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard the refrain “do you hear what I hear”. It’s from The Little Drummer Boy.
Good song. Catchy. Who doesn’t want to drum every now and then?
But: this email isn’t about the song, it’s about that particular set of words: do you hear what I hear?
For many businesspeople, the answer is: uhhh, can you repeat the question?
“Hearing” is becoming a lost art. Very often, I see accomplished professionals fail to HEAR what the other person is saying. They don’t merely “misunderstand” – they just don’t hear.
Because they’re so wrapped-up in what THEY want/ need to say, that they’re not engaging the other person at all. They’re merely waiting, waiting, waiting for their chance to speak. They aren’t hearing at all – they’re distracted, and waiting, and circling for a chance to “take back the mic.”
The underlying mechanism here, of course, is fear: some people believe that if they don’t get “all of their points out” they won’t succeed in doing what they wanted to do (e.g. sell something). Or, they’re afraid they don’t aggressively push through their points, that they’ll be perceived as ignorant or uninterested.
These are possible, yes. But they’re very, very unlikely. Think of all of the truly intelligent people that you know – I don’t just mean smart or clever, but really wise. Notice how they speak in a relaxed manner; they aren’t “afraid” – they just speak. And when you’re talking, they hear. They don’t bite their tongue waiting for the next opportunity to dominate the conversation. They simply hear. And then they respond to what they hear. They respond to you. And you feel good. And so do they.
See? Simple. Try it – see how much value there is in HEARING. It’s more than you might expect.
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